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Jim Svejda
Fanfare, March 2017

…Pablo González and the Barcelona Symphony respond with an effortlessly idiomatic grace to the composer’s evocative and ethereal writing; the woodwinds in El jardín de Elisenda manage some hypnotically lovely things, while pianist Dani Espasa seems as perfectly attuned to the idiom as his late, great countrywoman Alicia de Larrocha always was. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review




Arturo Reverter
Scherzo, March 2017

GRANADOS, E.: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 - Suite sobre cantos gallegos / Torrijos (Barcelona Symphony and Catalonia National Orchestra, Gonzalez) 8.573263
GRANADOS, E.: Orchestral Works, Vol. 2 - Dante / La nit del mort / Goyescas: Intermezzo (Barcelona Symphony, González) 8.573264
GRANADOS, E.: Orchestral Works, Vol. 3 - Liliana / Suite Oriental / Elisenda (Barcelona Symphony, González) 8.573265

Expansive interpretation, full of action and verve, with moments of logical self-reflection, from the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra under the affirmative direction and energetic momentum of Pablo González. © 2017 Scherzo



Stephen Estep
The Absolute Sound, February 2017

Music:
Sonics:

This final release from Naxos’ three-disc series of Granados’ orchestral music is glorious: ravishing playing, striking sonics, and music that’s cinematic in scope. Liliana was originally a setting of a Catalan poem with long instrumental passages; Pablo Casals arranged this suite from surviving fragments. Except for the last movement, Spanish nationalism is mostly limited to the percussion. The themes don’t have the most staying power, but the atmosphere is colorful and ingratiating. The Suite Oriental, from the late 1880s, is more memorable; you may recognize melodies from “Serenata” and “Marche Oriental,” as Granados reused them in piano pieces. That latter movement and the finale, “Dos Danzas,” are exotic, yet still restrained; Granados didn’t overdo things. Elisenda was composed for soprano and small ensemble and had four movements, although only the last had singing. That movement has also been lost, but what we have is the gem of the program, a restful, sentimental suite. The first few times I listened to the album, I was stunned at how it closed with such a relatively subdued movement. As much as I would like to hear the lost fourth, I am quite taken by what we have. © 2017 The Absolute Sound



Stephen Estep
American Record Guide, January 2017

…I cannot imagine a warmer, more loving performance than this. Maestro González and the orchestra are to be commended for their extraordinary musicality. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, October 2016

The melodic memorability, impressionist palette and Spanish folk touch are nicely present here in varying degrees. Not all of it is exactly “nationalist” but it is all well done. This is music to grow into, not something that will overawe on first hearing but with a pronounced Granada fingerprint for those who know his more familiar music, and filled with pleasurable, evocative strains for those who don’t.

González and the Barcelona Symphony give bright, effective readings. © 2016 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review



Barry Forshaw
Classical CD Choice, October 2016

Classical music aficionados often lament the appearance of yet another set of Beethoven’s symphonies, so it’s always refreshing to welcome music which is new to the recorded repertoire. That is very much the case with this colourful and attractive music. © 2016 Classical CD Choice Read complete review



Richard Bratby
Gramophone, October 2016

…languid, colourful and essentially lyrical.

…pianist Dani Espasa plays [Elisenda’s] three pastoral movements with delicacy and grace, complemented by shapely cello and violin solos from the BSO principals. © 2016 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Bob McQuiston
Classical Lost and Found, September 2016

Catalan Pianist Dani Espasa takes us on a delicate captivating journey through Elisenda. He gets sensitive support from the members of the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, also known as the National Orchestra of Catalonia. They’re under the direction of Spanish-born, British-trained conductor Pablo González, who was the orchestra’s music director at the time. We also have them to thank for uncovering and giving us magnificent interpretations of the other two Granados goodies. © 2016 Classical Lost and Found Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2016

The third and final disc in a series devoted to the orchestral works of the Spanish composer, Enrique Granados, here released to mark the centenary of his death. He was a twenty-two year old Paris student when, in 1889, he completed the Suite oriental, though at the time his main interest was in achieving a career as a concert pianist. Much influenced by the music of French composers, and following the Parisian vogue for anything oriental, his four movements tried—with only modest success—to explore that ready market. It did bring with it evidence of his gift for effective and ‘modern’ orchestration, particularly when you recall we were still in the 19th century, and Dvorak had yet to write his three popular symphonies. Moving forward more than twenty years he began work on the lyric poem, Liliana, the scene set in the world of sylphs, gnomes and witches. There was no definitive orchestral score when Granados died five years later, and it was the great cellist, Pablo Casals, who created a performing score, though he may well have discussed the work with Granados. You could well think of the work as a short and charming ballet, the imagery so vivid, with scoring that is both imaginative and often delicate. At much the same time—in 1912—he was creating a descriptive series of four pictures based on a poem, Elisenda. It appeared in many guises, including a version for piano and chamber orchestra, but in all versions the fourth movement is totally lost. Often ethereal, and mostly quiet, it is a work of exquisite beauty. Throughout the series, the Barcelona orchestra has been in fine form, but here they are outstanding, the music shaped with much affection by the conductor, Pablo González. First rate sound quality. © 2016 David’s Review Corner





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